Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Book Review: Rebel Dawn (Star Wars) - A. C. Crispin

"Rebel Dawn" is the concluding volume in A.C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy. It begins not long after "The Hutt Gambit". This novel spans a period of several years (approximately 5, I believe) and leads right into Han Solo's first appearance in "Star Wars: A New Hope". Unlike the previous two Han Solo novels by Ann Crispin, "Rebel Dawn" spreads its focus between Han Solo, the Hutts, Lando Calrissian, and Han's former love and now rebel leader Bria. While this slows down the pace of the action, it also adds a level of depth and complexity not often found in a Star Wars novel.

There is a lot going on in "Rebel Dawn". Shortly after the novel begins we get to see the famous scene where Han Solo wins the Millenium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of sabacc. From here we move on to Bria Tharen trying to convince the future leaders of the Rebel Alliance that they should all unify and fight the Empire together. At the time of this novel there were small pockets of resistance and many who disagreed with the Empire, but nothing was organized. In "Rebel Dawn" we can see the Alliance begin to take shape. From Bria's efforts we move to intrigue between the Hutts. Jabba and Jiliac are engaged in Hutt clan warfare against Durga the Hutt (and his clan). This section, which takes up a fairly large chunk of novel, is surprisingly interesting. There is much more depth to the Hutts than we get from the movies or even the other novels. Their culture is much deeper than throwaway lines calling Jabba a "gangster". Hutts are that, and more. Besides this, we also visit Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld and see Chewbacca married. For the first time (that I am aware of) we get to experience the domestic life of the Wookiees. Fairly interesting. If all this wasn't enough, the book is about Han Solo after all. Han has much to do here, from traveling with Chewie, gambling, making the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, reuniting with Bria, becoming involved in the actions of the Rebellion, and much more. "Rebel Dawn. is a very full book.

This is the conclusion to one of the strongest series in the Star Wars universe. The writing is top notch, entertaining, informative (for the Star Wars fan), and simply fun. It is everything that a Star Wars novel should be. This book even leaves room for the Han Solo Adventures which are written by Brian Daley by giving brief glimpses of Han's exploits in the Corporate Sector. This trilogy (and this book in particular) is far superior to Daley's trilogy, and is perhaps the definitive Han Solo story. We get nearly his entire life without getting too bogged down in every single smuggling run and adventure he has been on. Crispin spins a very good story here, and one which is worth reading for the Star Wars fan. This book (and trilogy) gives us everything we need to know about Han Solo and why he is the way he is in Episode Four.

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